- Easy access for upgrades
- Large touchpad
- Good battery life
- Weak plastic construction
- Severe keyboard flex
- Unimpressive speakers
by Jerry Jackson
Toshiba’s first consumer-oriented netbook in the United States, the Toshiba mini NB205, promises to be one of the hottest netbooks for 2009. Like most of the low-cost companion PCs available in stores, the mini NB205 helps you stay connected with a simple laptop that easily fits in a purse or backpack. This netbook certainly offers a lot with a nearly full-sized keyboard and touchpad and all-day battery life, but is it the best $400 netbook on the market? Let’s take a closer look.
Toshiba mini NB205 (NB205-N310/BN) Specifications:
- OS: Microsoft Windows XP Home SP3
- 10.1″ WSVGA (1024 x 600) LED-backlit display
- CPU: Intel Atom N280 (1.66GHz, 533MHz FSB)
- Graphics: Intel GMA 950
- LAN onboard 10/100 Mbps Ethernet controller
- Wireless: 802.11b/g and Bluetooth V2.1
- Memory 1GB (DDR2 533MHz)
- Storage: 160GB hard drive (5400rpm) and SD/SDHC media card reader
- Webcam: 0.3 Megapixel
- Dimensions 10.4 x 8.3 x 1.0/1.27 inches (W x D x H)
- Weight 2.93lbs with 6-cell battery
- Battery: 6-cell Lithium-Ion
- Warranty: 1-Year Parts and Labor, 1-Year Battery
- Price as configured: $399.99 USD
Build and Design
The Toshiba mini NB205 is the first netbook (low-price, low-performance, ultraportable laptop) from Toshiba, but the design is certainly one of the most attractive we’ve seen in the netbook category. Toshiba offers the NB205 in multiple colors, but the silver and “Sable Brown” color combination in our review unit looks quite nice. The screen lid is made of thin textured plastic with the Toshiba logo front and center in silver metalic plastic. Toshiba engineers made the interesting choice of placing the power button in the middle of the screen hinge where it is exposed even when the netbook is closed. At first I was concerned this might not be the best position since it means the power button could be accidentally triggered inside a backpack or laptop case, but the button is disabled if the screen lid is closed.
Build quality was less than impressive despite the attractive exterior of the NB205. The thin plastics used in the construction of the chassis are prone to flex and the plastics make annoying “creaking” noises if you squeeze the netbook between your fingers. The full-size keyboard looks fantastic, but as soon as you apply typing pressure with your fingers you begin to feel the keyboard flex and bounce as you type. Unfortunately, the only area of the mini NB205 that feels nice and firm is the tension on the screen hinges.
The bottom of the netbook chassis shows an abundance of air vents to help with cooling (more on that later) and a pair of easy access panels for the RAM and hard drive. We’re happy to see more and more netbooks with easy access to the internals for upgrading the memory or storage, and Toshiba makes it very simple to complete these upgrades after removing three screws.